This article from 2010 was lightly edited, including an update of resources, in 2020. For more articles and exercises on pelvis-related things, check out Our Best Healthy Pelvis Resources.
I'm writing a bit on the mechanics of some constipations because, when you're dealing with pelvic organ prolapse, then it's helpful to think of all the times when you might be bearing down extra hard, as in when you're constipated.
When you are constipated, what does it mean? Not enough water? Not enough fiber? Not enough exercise? While these things can definitely impact your, uh, impact, many people are still plugged up after addressing these items.
The question to ask is, what else is going on down there? What other things could be affecting the downward movement of food? The answer, or at least one answer is, you may be creating an upward force that's resisting the the natural movement of your food. What feels like constipation may be YOU, slowing your food movements.
Here's an upward-force check
Are you holding your stomach in? There is a definite difference between an abdomen changing shape via abdominal muscle contraction and the abdomen changing shape when "sucking in your stomach." Sucking in your stomach will give you the appearance of a flat belly, but really mass in the abdomen is pulled in and upward. It's an easy way to change a waist line, but not so good for the waste line (get it?). This upward action is a force changes your abdominal pressure and can be impacting the digestive process.
Try this Abdominal Release exercise:
On your hands and knees, while standing, or while sitting, relaxi your belly, letting it drop all the way out and down. If you do this in front of a mirror, you will see that your stomach might drop down lower than the level of your belly button before you started.
If you are having constipation issues, know that nutrition plays a roll, but don't forget the mechanics of what MOVES the food down have their roll too.